Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Where Have Y'all Been?

I was twelve or so when a friend of mine who built model rockets invited several of us to witness a launch. So we gathered at what used to be the Drill Field at what used to be Gordon Military College in what still is Barnesville, Georgia to observe the spectacle. He prepared the rocket for liftoff and, after the countdown, it indeed blasted off. After the rocket had travelled a few hundred feet into the air, its parachute deployed and we watched it drift down, apparently into the woods that lay between the road that ran alongside the Drill Field and the golf course.

Another friend and I ran across the road and went into the woods in search of the rocket. The woods were easy to get through until we got to the small creek that ran through them; on the other side of the creek they became dense and difficult to traverse. We continued on, working our way through the bushes and briars, wishing we had a machete like we had seen in the Tarzan movies. We were determined to find that rocket.

Finally, we crashed through the outer edge of the dark woods and into the light of day—where we found everybody else on the golf course where the rocket had landed. They had just gotten into a car with the amateur rocket engineer’s parents and driven around to where the rocket was. I deflated; we had suffered the sweat and scratches that were inflicted on us by the woods and we weren’t even going to be thanked for our sacrifice in service to the great rocket project. All we got was a “Hey, where have y’all been?”

Still, the fact is that my friend and I did find the rocket; we just didn’t find it first because we took a harder path. And because we took the harder path, we had the better story to tell!

We’re all on a search and that search, whether we know it or not, is to know God. Thankfully, God wants to be known. God wants to be known so much that he sent his only Son into this world as a vulnerable baby who would grow up to be an executed man. God wants to be known so much that he sent his own Spirit into the world to be with us and among us.

At rare times our search for God seems easy; most of the time it seems hard. All the time it is in the course of the search that we find God; all the time it is the fact that finding God is the journey, not the destination. Most of the time the journey will be more akin to that trek through the woods than it will be to that drive around the corner. We face impediments and challenges; we receive bumps and scratches and bruises; we get dirty and messy.

And all along the way, God—God the Creator, God the Christ, God the Spirit—smiles at us and says, “Where have y’all been?”

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